Thursday, December 29, 2011

Auld Lang Syne II - I've Come A Long Way, Baby

I wasn't going to post until Monday, after the holiday, but just for fun, I was skimming through my old posts to see what the last few New Year's were like, and well, here I am.

Three years ago I catered a wedding on New Year's Eve. I forgot all about that. My first last and only job in NC. It was icy raining, I had to drive UP a mountainside, and then back down. I did not like the people, they did not like me. The groomsmen were drunk as pigs, the bride was a demanding little bee-yotch, the father hit on me, and the only people I really talked to were the dogs. A far cry from my catering clientele in Rhode Island. (I'm not casting aspersions, I'm just saying it's different down here is all.)

I had also, during the course of that year, finished writing and querying MASQUERADE. Lots of interest, no takers. I'm still thinking it's all about the sex, or lack thereof. But you know, I still stand by that. I don't need to write sex to have a good book.

Two years ago, I was still writing THE LADY'S FATE but calling it MisMatched. I was also in the throes of trying to put together a YA (yeah, I know huh - I do still like that story and think it might be a good one to finish but not right now.) I thought about going on a diet, and you know what happened to that thought. I finished REMEMBERING YOU and queried that. I really thought I was going to land an agent with that one. And well, things happened to make me take a really hard look at my writing life.

Now last year at this time, I wrote a post (which you can find here) and after re-reading it, I thought WOW, that was really prolific. Now I'm not saying I'm a prolific writer by any means, but every once in a while I do have a moment. And that was mine. I built my fence. Thinking on it now, it's like a giant mandala, and I suppose that was the purpose of it all along. Only I didn't know that then.

This year, looking back, I have accomplished a lot. I'm very proud of me. Certain things, not so much, but for the most part I'm pretty happy with the decisions I've made. I've made mistakes, sure, who hasn't, there were probably a lot of things I should have done differently, but I made my choices and there we have it. No changing it now.

Looking ahead, I can only take it one day at a time. Because joy happens in life, and you have to be ready to accept it, and you know what else, so does shit. And somehow it all evens itself out.

It's not fun being a writer sometimes. It's a head game for the most part. It's also very lonely and isolating and if I didn't have you guys, I wouldn't be where I am today.

No, I'm not going to sing again, but I want to thank you all for being there for me. Being a writer is a tough job. Being a published author is even harder. You have to love it with your whole heart. Dreams really do come true, and it's within each and every one of you to make your own a reality.

So Happy New Year my friends. May you all find your heart's desire in 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Holiday Surprise

I was recently asked to prepare a little holiday post for Sia McKye's blog "Over Coffee" and I am honored it's up today. It features my latest heroine, Miss Ophelia Trent. And in the version for Sia, I've only allowed 1200 words to capture her spirit, and only one man to capture her heart.

In the novella, (which will be out in January) Miss Trent finds there is something to be said for waiting until you're older before you marry.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Wishing you all the joy of the holiday season. I'll see you in January sometime.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Finding My Feet

After last Friday's post, I feel a lot better about my new life as a published author. And it's all due to YOU. My blog friends. Listen now, as I break out into song, but please by all means hear Josh Grobin.

You lift me up....

Sorry, I'll stop now.

Anyway, in trying to deal with all those twisted emtions, stepping away from the blogs for awhile was a given. I had to. Besides the fact I was a dribbling sniveling mess, one of the reasons I decided to take a hiatus was because of all the pressure (real or imagined) that people expect you to blog about important stuff once you're published. That you "know" things other writers don't. That the wisdom you've gained should be shared with everybody else. And believe me, if I had it, I would have shared it. See, but the problem was, I ain't no smarter now than I was before September 29th. It's still the same incoherent babbling.

The other reason I needed to take a hiatus was because my father is not doing so well. He's had a few ups and downs over the last few years, but this last bout (since I published actually) has had him in and out of doctors offices and hospitals at least twice a week so it's been a lot of emotional upheaval in more ways than one. He's holding his own for the time being, has an appointment with another specialist after the holidays, so hopefully they can figure out what the f*ck is wrong with him. (He's had ALL the tests, ALL the scans, ALL the bloodwork, and no one can give him a definitive answer why he feels like shit all the time.) So I'm over there a lot. (My life with my parents has always been complicated and whether they support me in my book writing is neither here nor there. They're still my parents and I do love them dearly.)

The third reason I needed to step away for awhile is I needed to get on with the process of finishing the next novel in my series -- THE DUKE'S DIVORCE. Between The Monster and being at my parent's beck and call, it's been a little dodgy finding the time to really get the flow I'm looking for, but I can report, I am now at 68,736 words, so I'm 2/3 done.

Any published author will tell you, after the first book comes out, there's this INCREDIBLE mind numbing PRESSURE to produce another book, whether traditionally pubbed or indie. And I took the responsibility of placing it on myself. Let me just say, there were a few days where I thought I was really going to throw in the towel. Ask Bridget, she can attest to the upheaval with email I sent her. I thought I was going to explode.

But, I found out, I can only write a book so fast, or slow, they all come out one word at a time. And even then, sometimes for every 15 written, I have to delete 14. You know how it goes.

Anyway, what this rambly post means, is that, I guess I'm still on hiatus, but I've found my feet, so to speak. I can stand upright for now. I can breathe. I can tell you stuff, just because I can, because I know you'll listen and I don't have to impress you. I can just be me. I may not be around like I used to be, but I'm still here. I love you guys, I really do, and I wouldn't be where I am without each and every one of you.

You lift me up...

Sorry. I'll stop now, but you know what I mean. And sorry in advance for making that song stick in your head for the rest of the day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Happens to Us?

I've been floating around the blogs the last few days and ran across an interesting thread from published authors that's really resonated with me. I was going to keep silent on it, but I've found, yeah, I need to say something.

It's an interesting phenomenon that happens to writers after they become published. Elana Johnson, Tahera Mafi, Michelle Davidson Argylle, and Jody Hedlund have all voiced their emotional upheaval. I felt the same thing after my book showed up on the Kindle. I was overwhelmed with how many books were bought, yet down-hearted that it wasn't enough. But what did I expect? I would sell a million copies overnight, that one of the agents who rejected me would call and say, "oh yes, I was so foolish to let you go, let me offer you a contract now", that I would become the next overnight sensation because I had finally self-published this "thing" that I'd been working on for two years.

I know there are differences between indie authors and traditional authors, but the feelings are basically the same. I take from Elana, lost and alone. I put my book out there and waited for the accolades, the kudo's the press, and nothing. I take from Tahera, that giddy feeling of going into a bookstore (although, I have to check my Kindle stats every 3 hours) and staring at the cover, feeling the pride, yet not wanting to be conceited about it. I take from Michelle the overwhelming jealousy over what someone else has. My own crazy insanity that another author got 57 reviews overnight and I only had three for two months.

I have done something no one else in my family ever did, but my family doesn't care. Not one note of congratulations, not one encouraging e-mail. NOT ONE. Like, who cares, it's just Anne, being Anne again, just another one of her hare-brained schemes to make money (I refer back to my catering business -- they all said I couldn't do that either.) This hurts so badly you can't imagine. My own family doesn't give a shit that my name is on a book. That it's being read by 182 people whom I've never met. If that doesn't make you a little emotional, then nothing will.

And so, after three months of watching and waiting for the "big break", I finally came to the conclusion, there's nothing any different about being a writer than there is about being a chef, or a cab driver, or a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. When the next day dawns, you put on your pants, brush your teeth and go to work. I just happen to work from home, downstairs in my basement.

The expectations that life is going to change in some dramatic way after we are published are fed to us, by us, by other writers, in where we read about the debut author snagging that million dollar movie deal. We want to be JK, Stephanie, Kristen. We want it to be us. Desperately. (And if you say you don't, you're lying. Okay that's a blanket statement, so I take it back, but we all do think at least once, how fab it would be to be famous.) We want the awards, the fame, the hype, but when it doesn't come (to most of us) we're left feeling out of sorts in our own skin, and wonder who it was that we could blame for lying to us, who told us this was the way life was going to be when you get published.

And we find, it was only ourselves.

Yes, I do take pride in all I've accomplished, but what I need to remember is, I'm just a writer who wrote a book. Sure, I'll be jealous, and afraid, and excited, and overwhelmed by all these crazy emotions. The feelings of abandonment, despair, elation, joy, and trepidation are just the natural process of evolving from writer to published author. Kind of the same feelings after you've had a baby.

But what I've found through these last three months, is to just let it go, and get on with what I do best. Love my daughter, pen my next stories, and catch up with the laundry.

What else is there really?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Monster Child

Seven years ago today at 7:02 am, weighing in at 7 pounds 7 ounces, and 17 and a quarter inches, (don't know what it is with the 7's, hope they're lucky) my Monster was born (after 28 hours of labor I might add.)

She looked like a chipmunk, slept like an owl, and ate like a baby gorilla. I guess now I know where she gets her love of animals from. She was a lot of fun back then, I'd dress her up in her little outfits and we'd go to all sorts of places. We could never go anywhere without being accosted by at least 5 little old ladies who wanted to ooh and ahh over the most beautiful baby in the world. Kind of like a hot guy with a puppy on the beach, but not.

Evertime we went to my parents house, my father would make me take off her shoes and socks so he could kiss her toes. Yeah, I know, eewww, but hey, he's my father. My mother bought her all kinds of "princess" attire because, well, what else do you buy for a baby as beautiful as this?

During the last 7 years, I never thought my life would become what it has. There's been a lot of ups and downs, moves, changes in lifestyle, that I never thought I would ever do, but you know how it goes -- a baby changes everything. Truthfully, if she wasn't around, I think I would still be stuck in a restaurant somewhere spending my paychecks on shoes I would only wear once, dating the wrong kinds of men, and trying to keep up with Giada and The Barefoot Contessa. I can say without any doubt, I never would have written, or finished, any of my books, let alone published them.

The Monster has kept me grounded through all the joys and triumphs, bad times and uncertainty. For such a litle person, she's kept my head on straight, because it's not about ME anymore, it'a all about HER. And I don't even think I have to tell you how spoiled she is.

I can't tell you how much I am in love with her because that would take volumes. I thank God everyday for allowing me to have her in my life. She's smart, kind, a whizz at baseball, loves math (of all things), reads voraciously, (wonder where she got that from), forgets when I yell at her, writes me love notes all the time, and has an appetite the size of a grown gorilla. (The kid could eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

Happy Birthday Monster Baby! You've made all my dreams come true.